Hoops Recruiting News And Notes

Here's an update on where Maryland basketball stands in recruiting.

I’m not Dan Painter, and this isn’t the new version of the infamous Hoops Dish, but after sifting through the glut of information on the message boards the last couple weeks, in addition to speaking with TTDan himself, I decided to compile some notes so Maryland aficionados can keep abreast of head coach Mark Turgeon’s recruiting efforts.

So, here’s where the Terps are at in regards to their remaining class of 2015 targets and some of their foremost class of 2016 recruits.

The Big Man

The regular signing period runs April 15-May 20, and from the looks of things, the staff will attempt to bring in two more players to round out the 2015 crop.

The much-bandied about No. 1 target remains big man Yankuba Sima, who in December transferred from Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) to Elev8 (Delray Beach, Fla.), where he’ll be under the watchful eye of Chad Myers, who coached current Terps sophomore Damonte Dodd at Massanutten Military Academy (Woodstock, Va.). The 6-foot-11 Sima gave us an extensive interview recently, and all but admitted the Terps were the favorite (ARTICLE HERE).

Sima is also looking closely at Louisville, his No. 2 suitor, along with Arizona, Baylor and Auburn, but he was most effusive in his UMD praise. Both head coach Mark Turgeon and assistant Dustin Clark have made deep inroads here, while Sima has visited College Park, Md., once before (he raved about it) and plans to return again for an official visit in March.

Barring something fishy happening in the days leading up to Signing Day, Maryland should be able to secure the Barcelona, Spain, native, who played with Terps big Michal Cekovsky at the Canarias Basketball Academy (the two maintain a close relationship, and is one of the foremost factors in Sima’s recruitment).

One reason Sima would not wind up in College Park is if the Terps somehow land the nation’s No. 1 center, Diamond Stone (Dominion/Whitefish Bay, Wisc.). Stone is reportedly down to UConn, Wisconsin and Maryland, though the in-state Badgers are considered the favorites. TTDan and Co. do not project Stone to be a Terp at this time.

The Wing

The second piece Maryland’s staff will look to add is an athletic, slashing wing who can step in for the departing Dez Wells. For a short while, it seemed like Sima’s new teammate at Elev8, Kobie Eubanks, could be that guy, but we’ve since heard the 6-5 guard/forward is probably not coming to UMD for various reasons. Oregon looks to be a prime player now, in addition to Pittsburgh and Baylor, the school he was formerly committed to.

Even so, well before Eubanks’ name surfaced in December, the Terps had been on Midland Community College (Midland, Texas) wing Maurice O’Field. Holding an offer since the fall, the 6-5, 200-pound O’Field, an active, aggressive finisher, has had consistent contact with Clark, while Turgeon has been down to see him play as well. The Cleveland native has said he appreciated their efforts, and has UMD under firm consideration, acknowledging he should be taking an official visit to College Park in the next month or so.

We like Maryland’s position with O’Field, but Arizona State and Gonzaga are two more top players, while Marquette could become involved as well. Expect O’Field to take officials to at least three of the aforementioned schools before signing in April. (For a reminder, here was my article on O’Field from earlier: ARTICLE).

If O’Field falls through, Maryland could very well turn to another Elev8 product, Jamall Gregory, who is a DMV native that was formerly at Melo Trimble’s high school, Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.).

An athletic, rugged defender who plays above the rim, Gregory (6-4, 195) has caught the UMD staff’s eye with his “junkyard dog” style, though he lacks an offer to this point. Gregory indicated, however, that Maryland would immediately become a favorite should Turgeon and Co. ante up.

Another name to at least monitor moving forward is Moravian Prep (Durham, N.C.) shooting guard Ricky Council, who has offers from the likes of Providence and Appalachian State. Apparently the Terps have checked him out and have him on their radar, though he’s probably behind O’Field and Gregory in the pecking order at this time.

A Power Forward Unlikely

We thought Maryland might attempt to add another power forward to its 2015 mix, with Simeon Carter (West Charlotte/Charlotte, N.C.) being the most likely possibility. Carter’s coach suggested the late-emerging big would “definitely” be interested in officially visiting UMD, but that was before the Terps signed Ivan Bender from Croatia.

With the 6-9 Bender on board, that gives the Terps at least four low-post presences next year: Damonte Dodd, Michal Cekovsky, Robert Carter and Bender. So, given that, there really is no need for another “project type” big forward in this year’s class -- and maybe not in 2016 either.

The Point Guard

Junior college point guard Jaylen Brantley (Odessa C.C./Odessa, Texas) signed with Maryland during the early period, and he should be a valuable asset subbing in for – and at times playing alongside of -- Melo Trimble next year.

Brantley’s handles, court vision and pass-first mentality suggest he’s a true point, so he should be able to orchestrate the offense when Trimble’s in need of a breather. If Brantley comes as advertised, he could be an upgraded version of Richaud Pack -- at least on the offensive end.

2016 Recruiting Notes

We’ve identified and discussed Maryland’s 2016 targets, though there’s bound to be some new names to add in the coming months. Here’s what we know for now:

Point Guards

At point guard, we’re fairly certain the Terps are focused on local lead guard Anthony Cowan (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) and Pennsylvania’s Tony Carr (Roman Catholic/Philadelphia, Pa.). Both are said to have significant interest in UMD, with Cowan particularly high on the hometown school. Cowan is also looking at Illinois, Xavier, Louisville (no offer yet), George Washington and Georgetown; while Carr has Temple, Xavier and a couple others on his list. (I recently did an article on Cowan, which you can see HERE).

Next in line after those two is probably Bryce Aiken (The Patrick School/Newark, N.J.), who technically holds a Maryland offer, though it’s likely not committable.

Others on the board include Alterique Gilbert (Miller Grove/Lithonia, Ga.), Cassius Winston (Detroit Jesuit/Detroit, Mich.) and Asante Gist (Roselle Catholic/Roselle, N.J.), but they may only become viable options should the Terps strike out on the aforementioned trio.

Note: Point guard/shooting guard Jamal Murray (Athlete Institute Basketball Academy/Toronto, Ont.) is someone the Terps’ staff is reportedly high on, but the feeling may not be mutual. Moreover, Murray may be re-classing to 2015, which would definitely rule him out as a UMD possibility (the Terps already have their 2015 point guard).

Shooting Guards

The No. 1 shooting guard target is still Curtis Jones (Huntington Prep/Huntington, W.Va.), who transferred to Huntington from Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) before this season. A frequent College Park visitor who has been in close contact with Maryland (Turgeon and Clark have been down to see him play), Jones remains enamored with UMD. At the same time, Louisville (no offer yet), %%MATCH_51%% and VCU have his ear as well, so we’ll see how his recruitment develops. (You can read my recent update on Jones HERE).

Another name to monitor is DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) star Markelle Fultz, who the Terps are reportedly making a push for now. Fultz, whose game Turgeon just attended Jan. 13, doesn’t have any clear leaders at this point, but he’s a national recruit who could have his pick of schools before it’s all said and done. Arizona is a strong contender, as are Georgetown, Louisville and others. The Terps are working into the thick of Fultz’ recruitment, however.

Douglas County (Douglassville, Ga.) two-guard Brandon Robinson looked to be a viable option at one point, but he may be fading a bit. Robinson isn’t having the greatest junior season, according to reports, and the Terps may have backed off in their pursuit. That said, he’s still someone to keep an eye on should Jones and Fultz fall by the wayside.

Devonte Green (Long Island Lutheran/Long Island, N.Y.), meanwhile, might be fourth in the pecking order for now. He does not project to end up in College Park unless Maryland misses on the likes of Jones, Fultz and maybe Robinson.

Wings

It remains to be seen whether the Terps will actually pursue a 2016 wing, especially if they land a Maurice O’Field or a Jamall Gregory this year. One name to watch, though, is Paul VI’s V.J. King, a five-star talent Maryland would undoubtedly take if he wanted in. King, however, has everyone and their brother after him, and we’re told he’s not focused on UMD at this time. That said, he should be visiting College Park in short order, so perhaps the coaches can leave an impression.

Two more recruits of note are Lamar Stevens (Haverford, Pa.) and DeAndre Hunter (Friends’ Central/Wynnewood, Pa.), but Maryland hasn’t pushed for either as of yet.

Power Forwards/Centers

There really hasn’t been too much buzz surrounding 2016 big men, which makes sense with Bender on board and Sima possibly coming in. If the Terps can indeed secure Sima, then there really isn’t a need for another big forward.

Paul VI’s Corey Manigault is still worth monitoring, though there’s still a question as to whether or not he’s a high-major prospect or not. Things could change, but at this time we don’t see the Terps pursuing, despite the fact Manigault holds an “offer.”

Besides Manigault, 22 Fleet Academy’s (Greenville, S.C.) Sedee Keita and Owensboro’s (Ky.) Aric Holman were on the radar, but now it’s unlikely Turgeon and Co. will go after either one in earnest.

We’ll keep both on the hot board for now since they are solid talents, and because circumstances can always change in recruiting.

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